July 04, 2006

Happy July

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Yep...it reads 130 F (54 C). Getting hot out here. Granted, our new thermometer is in direct sunlight, but it sure feels like 130. Today's real temperature was actually 120 F (49 C). Happy Fourth of July!

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I just ordered two outdoor thermometers for our patio here in the IZ. I just need to find a good place for the other one.

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Speaking of our backyard, this picture was taken in January. That yellow tape is from the rocket that landed and failed to detonate. You can see how plain the yard looks.

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This picture was taken in April. We planted tomato seeds, honey melons, and watermelons (which I learned are called "Ruggi" in Iraqi Arabic).

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And this is our backyard, as of a month ago. Compared to how it looked last year, it's amazing how things change.

Speaking of rockets, I thought it would be appropriate to post my rocket pics on the 4th of July. These photos are long overdue.

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May 11, a rocket landed just across the street from our office in Baghdad. It destroyed some gym equipment in the process, but failed to detonate.

The round first penetrated the roof of the building on the right, and exited from the side. You can see the exit hole in the photo. It then punched through the prayer room/gym (on the left), and buried itself behind some concrete walls.

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A closer view of the exit hole. It came down at an angle.

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This small building is a gym with a prayer room built into the corner. In the photo, the round came through the ceiling, punched through the divider wall (on the left), destroyed one of the benches, and exited to the right.

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Another photo of the equipment. Luckily, no one was doing situps.

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The round came out through the back. It even broke through the concrete wall (on the left), before burying in the dirt. EOD came to destroy the round, as it hadn't detonated yet, and was still considered a danger.

Three people were in the gym at the time, including a friend of mine. If the round exploded, chances are they wouldn't have survived. That's just how it is.

OK, enough of that. As for today, this is my third 4th of July away from home. In 2004, I celebrated with the Ukrainian Army in Al Kut, Iraq. In 2005, I celebrated in Ukraine with my friends. And this year, I am enjoying it in Baghdad.

I hope everyone else is doing their usual: visiting friends and family, and having a hamburger and a beer. God I miss that. Have one for me at least.

Take care.

Posted by Dan at 07:00 PM | Comments (3)

July 20, 2006

COUNTING DOWN

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One last picture of driving around the IZ. T-Walls block the view of just about everything. It's like living on the set of some weird movie.

As for me, I have just a few hours to go. Soon, I will catch a helicopter to the airport across town. Then I will get on a plane and fly down to Kuwait. My friends in Kuwait will be there to pick me up, and we'll hang out for a day. Then I'll get on a commerical plane and my vacation will begin.

I cannot wait.

This time, I'll head back to Romania for a few days. After that, I will be driving to Hungary, spend a few days there; then I'll drive over to Croatia and explore the Dalmatian Coast. I might even take a cruise across the sea to Venice for a day. And if that wasn't enough, after all that good stuff, I'll fly down to Dubai for two days of fun (including indoor snowboarding!).

Uh, you can imagine I won't be updating the site for a few weeks. But when I get back I will have lots of pictures to share.

Ashufaq Badien...Inshallah.

Posted by Dan at 08:41 PM | Comments (1)